Alon Vella – Drag Challenge profile

Drag Challenge 2019 saw Alon Vella continue his dominant run in the Pacemaker Radial Aspirated class, taking out yet another gong in his hairy Mk1 Capri

Photographers: Luke Hunter, Chris Thorogood, Michelle Porobic

A REGULAR in the division since 2015, the NSW-based welder now has seven class wins to his name, with five in week-long Drag Challenges and two in Weekend events.

Alon VElla

Far and away the quickest aspirated car to ever hit Drag Challenge, the Capri is living proof that displacement is king. Screwed together by BG Engines, the car’s donk is built on a Windsor-based Dart block, brought out to 450ci. Previously running a single 1250 Dominator, twin four-barrel carbs from Ray Edwards are now perched atop a Pro Billet tunnel ram. With a 13.5:1 compression ratio, the small-block sings all the way to 9000rpm on the strip. Alternating between unleaded and VP QM25+ race fuel, it’s good for 990hp at the crank.

The violent powerplant is backed by a C4 automatic and Gear Vendors overdrive. According to Al, it makes the long road legs of Drag Challenge far more bearable, as well as helping on the quarter-mile. Assembled by Shift Right of North Richmond, the transmission has delivered five years of reliable service. A nine-inch diff rounds out the driveline, with stout 4.56 gears to leave the line in a hurry.

Alon kicked off his week with an 8.49sec ET at a PB 160mph, placing him more than a second ahead of Peter Haravitsidis’ XY. By the time proceedings wrapped up back at Calder Park on Day Five, his lead had extended to an authoritative 4.19 seconds.

Keeping a cranky aspirated engine happy over a week of road driving is no mean feat; one can’t simply back off the boost or disconnect a nitrous bottle. But Alon and his experienced crew pulled through. Aside from hurting a tired lifter in Mildura on Day Two, both the team and the Capri survived the week relatively unharmed.

“It had done the Queensland event and a heap of testing, and we always carry spare sets,” Al said. With an astounding .960in of valve lift, it’s no wonder.

Al has no plans to end his stunning run of Drag Challenge campaigns. “I’ll definitely be back next year, and hoping to go a little bit faster,” he said. With new shocks and sensors, extra chassis bracing and a potential fresh camshaft, he hopes extra tenths are within reach.

“Our goal was to run 8.50, and it did that all week,” he said. “We want to run low 8.4s, but I’m not sure if it will.”


Class: Pacemaker Radial Aspirated

Engine: 450ci Windsor
Transmission: C4, Gear Vendors overdrive
Converter: SDE 7200rpm
Diff: 9in, 4.56:1 gears
Power: 990hp
Previous PB: 8.49@157mph
Best DC 2019 Pass: 8.49@160mph